Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Bad Ass Book Reviews: Reading The Coffee Grounds and Other Stories by Niles Reddick


Looking for a brew to pick you up? Then READING THE COFFEE GROUNDS AND OTHER STORIES just may be your cup of tea. I mean coffee.

To make a satisfying coffee beverage whole beans must first be selected, ground and carefully blended—and Georgia-born author Niles Reddick has masterfully done this for us. 

Most of the forty-five-brews in Reddick’s collection are flash and micro-flash stories akin to single-serving k-cups. But rather than gulp them down, I suggest sipping them slowly in order to savor their flavor.

A Vice-Provost at University of Memphis Lambuth in Tennessee, Reddick writes with what are commonly-called “southern sensibilities.” Family life, for example, features prominently in these works. Yet the tales I sampled in this collection are all conflict-driven. A woman flees a gas station without paying. A young man is found hanging in his jail cell. A man curiously scouring his local Sex Offender List staggeringly discovers his Uncle Albert’s name nestled among the perverts. Struggles associated with aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s also provide sources of conflict.

Even Reddick’s nineteen page mystery “Penalties” (which involves a psychopathic killer) unfolds at a stately pace reminiscent of some traditional English Cozies.

Meanwhile, stories such as “The Concert” readily remind us how easily we can slip into a “daily grind”—to move through our lives in a daze … to thoughtlessly chug our coffee and burn through our days without conscious thought. Like necromancers trying to gain illumination by scrutinizing tea leaves, Reddick isn’t content to simply enjoy a good cup of Joe and move on with his daily routines. He examines the grinds; he patiently strives to give even the mundane meaning—

And he graciously invites us to join him in these endeavors.

Anyone inclined to share a cupa with Niles can buy Reading the Coffee Grounds and Other Stories at Amazon or Barnes & Nobles at the following links:

You can buy READING THE COFFEE GROUNDS AND OTHER STORIES at Amazon.

You can also visit Niles on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/niles.reddick.9

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